The Pros And Cons Of Ethanol

892 Words4 Pages
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 4.6 million people die due to the exposure of air pollution each year. Shocking as it is, the cause is not new. The world has been fighting air pollution from as far back as The Middle Ages, and as the years grew on, so did pollution. Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, automobiles have been known to be the single largest source of air pollution. The reason: gasoline. In the fight against the gas emissions from these gasoline-powered vehicles, scientists, researchers, governments, and organizations alike have been searching and funding for safer, healthier, and cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. One of these alternatives, ethanol, has grown to become one of the best…show more content…
Ethanol was known as an intoxicating drink in the ancient times. For thousands of years, humans have consumed fermented honey, fruit juice, and grain as alcoholic beverages. As early as 7,000 B.C., ethyl alcohol was evidently used as an alcoholic beverage in China, and in the pre-Columbian times, several Native American civilizations used corn, grapes, and apples to create fermented beverages (Drug Free World 18). Ethanol was nearly made pure by the 12th century in southern Italy, and by the 1860s the alcohol was popularly recognized as ethanol whisky on which the Union Congress “taxed…to help finance the Civil War" (Estreicher 46). The dramatic increase made ethanol so expensive that those who had been using it as a lighting fuel during the early 1840s were forced to switch to kerosene and methanol instead (“The History of Ethanol in America”). In 1896 Henry Ford, who built his first automobile, the quadricycle, to run on pure ethanol, referred to the alcohol as “the fuel of the future,” to which he added, “There is enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for 100 years" (“Henry Ford”). When the tax was repealed over fifty years later, ethanol became an alternative to motor fuel (“Energy Timelines”). During the early 1900s, Ford engineered the first flex-fuel vehicle, the Model T, to run on both gas and ethanol (“Energy Timelines”).…show more content…
In a report by Frank Rusco, director of Natural Resources and Environment for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), “ethanol cannot generally be transported in existing multi-fuel pipelines because ethanol is a strong solvent, which can potentially cause corrosion of pipelines and degradation of seals and other pump components.” Trains and trucks, then, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, transport ethanol to ethanol production facilities. The U.S. has about 215 ethanol plants, most of which are concentrated in the Midwest, where corn is predominant (“Ethanol Production and Distribution” par. 1). Fueling stations for alternative fuels are becoming more available across the U.S. There are now over 2,000 fueling stations offering E85 in more than 40 states, and the numbers continue to increase (“Ethanol Fuel Basics” par.

More about The Pros And Cons Of Ethanol

Open Document